Petroleum funds must improve health service delivery – PIAC

The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has asked the Government to increase the disbursement of petroleum revenue allocated to the health sector through the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).

It said the GH¢68 million allocated to the health sector in the last nine years must be spread across both capital expenditure and service delivery to help improve healthcare in all parts of the country.

The Committee said Government must particularly pay attention to service delivery, lamenting that all funds for healthcare received under the ABFA had been invested in capital projects.

It said the projects included building and renovation of health facilities, training institutions, and office complexes for Associations and Regulatory bodies working in the sector, with little for service delivery.

Mr. Mark Agyemang, Technical Manager of PIAC, said the situation had led to the deterioration of primary health care delivery in the country and must be addressed immediately.

Speaking at the presentation of a report that assessed the impacts of ABFA in health financing, he indicated that, while the National Democratic Congress included health expenditure into its road and infrastructure programmes, the current government selected health as a priority area for funding under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act (PRMA) arrangement.

“As long as the health sector has been selected as a priority area to receive funding from the petroleum revenue, there must be an equal distribution for both capital project and service delivery projects,” he said.

Mr Agyemang emphasized that although capital investments had contributed to a general growth in the health sector, overlooking programmes to improve service delivery in the sector could be accountable for morbidity patterns, poor staff attitude among other inefficiencies.

He said out of GH¢1.58 billion released from the ABFA to fund roads and infrastructure from 2011 to 2016, health received GH¢2.4million.

In 2017 to 2019 when the sector was selected as a priority area, GH¢31million was allotted to improving health care delivery.

The Technical Manager said ABFA investments in the health sector fell in line with the New Patriotic Party’s 2018-2021 development priorities aimed at bridging equity gaps in geographical access to health services, improving mental healthcare services and intensifying prevention and control of non-communicable and communicable diseases, all of which had not been achieved.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the inefficiencies and the poor nature of healthcare delivered to patients in most public health facilities.

Mr Agyemang appealed to the Government to allocate significant funds to improve service delivery in the health sector by ensuring all projects selected under the health priority area were completed and made operational.

Source: GNA

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